Tuesday, 24 May 2011

To The Tip

After yesterday, when time stopped still and I got no further than 5.15, I decided that overthinking a cloud costume until it reaches nihilism is a pointless waste of time.

So this morning I exchange Squirrel's ballet froth for a bottle of beer; I throw in a witch outfit, Snow White, sundry Cinderellas, and a plastic ironing board.

Then I get serious with the chucking out, and begin a marathon 8-hour relay, steadily driving the contents of the garage to the tip.

The first time I get there, I start to feel nostalgic for the days when I could drive up, drop the car's contents onto a stinking heap of landfill, then quickly scarper, burying my conscience along with the refuse. Not now, not any more. In these eco-friendly days, everything must be recycled, which means dividing and sub-dividing the universe into metal/electrical, chipboard/wood, fabric clean/dirty and so on.

Each journey, thanks to this divisionary labour, thus takes no small amount of time. It involves me in a lot of matching my garage junk with their correct container, then staggering left-right, round the corner and back again, bent-backed and filthy, under the burden of wet chipboard, old duvets, and the metal legs of a broken bed.

The first time I do this, it is under the watchful and slightly menacing stare of the staff, employed, it seems to me, to lean on railings. I am sure watching me takes quite a bit of effort. I can only assume they are there to make sure I don't try and evade my ethical duty and dump the lot in garden waste.

I didn't get any help to carry the bed lengths around. None at all. I did note however that the young, lithe, blond twenty-something female wearing a low-cut sleeveless top with wobbly bosoms - the one who, as if she needed to, waved her arms feebly about - well, she received quite a bit of assistance in lifting a puny few bits of timber. Just saying.

I thought I might try her technique, but that idea was never going to get anywhere. I turned up each time in a more dramatic fashion than the last. By the second trip I managed a pair of savagely torn jeans and soot over my nose, and by the third I sported a green and purple bruise over one entire upper arm thanks to a collision with a piano. I thought I couldn't top that, but by trip four I wore a finger bandage made of a cut-up sanitary towel and some duct tape, thanks to nothing of any use whatsoever in the first-aid box except for a plastic ear thermometer. By trip five I carried several spiders in my hair, plus their entire housing estate, and by trip six I had lost the lower left leg of my jeans completely.

At the end of the day's tip experience I looked a little like some monobrowed cave dweller jettisoned through time to the medieval age: hunchbacked and broken, staggering haphazardly about under a layer of grimy robes, garage dust and century-old cobwebs.

But I was high on a combination of the cleaning experience and the excitement of seeing my remodelled garage/craftroom appear under my very nose. Taken to the edge of nervous exhaustion with the physical labouring of the day, I also began speaking in a strange, high-pitched squeak. I think it was then, at the final visit to the tip, that I started leaning on the rails alongside the tip staff, cracking jokes about bottoms and dart boards, the like of which might be suitable for an 8-year old. Gratifyingly, they laughed. I have found my level, and possibly my new vocation.